Mississippi is about to reopen for business.
Gov. Tate Reeves discussed the state’s coronavirus response at his daily press conference on May 27.
Beginning Monday, June 1, Reeves’ “safer at home order” will be replaced by the “safe return” order. All businesses will be allowed to open, but those that do must follow strict guidelines to limit spread the coronavirus.
“There will still be health and safety guidelines for people to follow, but we cannot have an endless shutdown," he said.
Other provisions include asking those who are over 65 or older or have a preexisting condition to stay at home as often as possible.
Rules will also be in place to govern gatherings. Indoor and outdoor gatherings where social distancing can be practiced will be limited to 50 and 100 individuals, respectively. When social distancing cannot be practiced, indoor and outdoor events will be limited to crowds of no more than 20 or 50 respectively.
Hospitals also will be allowed to perform non-essential surgeries, as long as 25 percent of beds remain available for COVID needs.
Reeves' new order also will allow museums to open June 1. However, he doesn't believe the Mississippi Department of Archives and History will reopen its facilities that date.
Some entities, like Malco Grandview in Madison, have decided not to reopen that date.
Beth Israel Congregation, in Northeast Jackson, also has decided not to reopen until the end of June.
The governor’s decision not to extend his "safer at home" order means that individuals in all fields may return to work.
“We had our first COVID-19 case in March. Three months later, it’s time allow everyone to return to work, understanding that their actions are the difference between life and death, health, disease and death for themselves and their neighbors,” he said. “That is called personal responsibility and is the backbone of our system of government.”
However, he continued to urge residents to practice social distancing and practice caution.
“We understand the threat is not gone, but we are slowing the spread. In Mississippi we have flattened the curve, and we have to honor and respect the people of the state and continue to believe they’ll make good decisions.”
He said that the decision to allow the state to reopen was made, in part, because hospitals are not and have not been at capacity. Part of the reason behind the state and federal lock downs was to slow the spread of the virus, to ensure hospitals would not be overwhelmed.
Reeves went on to state that if any resurgence of cases occur, that “a tightening of the reins (will be) carefully considered. He also said that the state could still put regional restrictions in place, especially in counties that see an increase in cases.
Mississippi Health Officer Thomas Dobbs discussed a recent funeral where social distancing guidelines were not followed. More than 50 people gathered for the memorial, including one person who had the coronavirus.
Following that funeral, 13 others tested positive for the virus, while eight more were suspected to have it, Dobbs said.
“These are the scenarios we’re terrified of – the thing we saw at the beginning of the outbreak,” he said. “It’s so important to honor social distancing rules, because they really work.”
Today, 313 cases of COVID-19 were reported, including 18 new deaths, according to Dobbs.
To date, 14,044 cases of COVID have been reported in the state, including 670 deaths.